Coronavirus Myth Busted: Using a mouthwash won't kill the virus or prevent COVID-19

The World Health Organization (WHO) has already delivered their statement that neither swishing nor gargling with mouthwash can kill the COVID-19 virus.

Myupchar May 18, 2020 15:34:01 IST
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Coronavirus Myth Busted: Using a mouthwash won't kill the virus or prevent COVID-19

Lack of a vaccine or a cure for COVID-19 infection has led people to experiment with different ways to deal with the virus. While some are sipping hot tea to keep their throat ‘clean’, others are pouring mustard oil in their nostrils - but none of these has so far been proven to be effective against the infectious disease.

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Representational image. Getty Images

Recently, another claim has been made by the researchers of Cardiff University, UK, about how mouthwash could help in killing the virus. According to the researchers, mouthwash can break the outer fatty layer of the virus, thus deactivating it. However, they have only done limited test-tube and clinical studies and have yet to explore the effectiveness of the existing mouthwashes.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has already delivered their statement that neither swishing nor gargling with mouthwash can kill the COVID-19 virus. There are no studies that prove the efficiency of any kind of mouthwash against the novel coronavirus , yet.

Different types of mouthwashes

Mouthwash is an adjunct to other oral hygiene measures like brushing and flossing. Mouthwashes are used daily by many people. Two types of mouthwashes are available in the market: cosmetic and therapeutic.

Cosmetic mouthwashes are the ones which do not require any prescription and only help in masking bad breath. They may leave an unpleasant after-taste.

Therapeutic mouthwashes are usually prescribed by dentists after deep scaling or gum surgery. They contain cetylpyridinium chloride, chlorhexidine, essential oils, fluoride and peroxide.

How mouthwash works

Cosmetic mouthwashes do not have medicinal value, they just help in clearing off bad breath. However, therapeutic mouthwashes have the ability to kill many strains of bacteria present in the oral cavity. Chlorhexidine digluconate (0.2%) is the most widely prescribed mouthwash for therapeutic purposes.

Cetylpyridinium chloride, present in the therapeutic mouthwash, helps in reducing bad breath whereas chlorhexidine helps in controlling plaque and inflammation in the gums (gingivitis). Fluoride has the ability to prevent cavities in the teeth. Peroxide is an agent that helps in whitening the teeth.

Therapeutic mouthwash can reduce the bacterial load of the mouth but has not shown any effect on viruses yet.

For more information, read our article on COVID-19 Myths and the Truth About Them.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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